After researching Hany Abu-Assad's Omar (2013), a compelling drama set in the occupied West Bank, I discovered that the director had made a previous film that received two Academy Award nominations but was probably less known in the UK than Omar. This previous movie is Paradise Now released in 2005 but not in the UK until a year later. It's a film whose subject matter would not please everybody, that's for sure; but it's a movie that goes a long way in explaining the motivation behind seemingly ordinary people who are prepared to become suicide bombers because of what they believe in. In this case the attack is to take place against an aggressor that has invaded a country to which they have no legitimate right.
The movie follows two Palestinian childhood friends Said (Kai Nashif) and Khaled (Ali Suliman) who live in Nablus and are recruited by the local resistance group to carry out a suicide attack in Tel Aviv, Israel's second most populated city after Jerusalem. There was problem’s making the film on location to which the director is reputed to have commented that if he could go back in time he would not have made the film! This followed a land mine exploding near the set, a missile attack by Israeli gunships on a car again very close to where the filming was taking place, prompting some crewmembers to abandon the project. If that was not bad enough the film’s location manager was kidnapped during the shot, eventually released following intervention from Yasser Arafat’s office. Who said filmmaking was easy?
In Hany Abu-Assad's Golden Globe acceptance speech he said that he hoped that the award would be "a recognition that the Palestinians deserve their liberty and equality unconditionally" and as I opined in my blog on the recent global warming documentary Greedy Lying Bastards, movies are becoming essential in providing information to make people think and formulate their own views. Let's hope film directors of the calibre of Abu-Assad carry on the good work and are not side tracked by the promise of fame and glory.
|More brothers in arms than The Blues Brothers.|